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Online Business Reviews: Understand the Impact

As almost any mid-sized business owner knows, online reviews can have a powerful impact on customer traffic. And no matter where reviews fall on the spectrum from glowing to terrible, the general pattern of online feedback should always be taken seriously. Financial firms aren’t excluded from this rule, though many finance managers believe online reviews matter more in industries related to service and hospitality. If you think potential clients won’t visit Yelp before choosing an investment manager (after all, a long term retirement plan isn’t exactly a restaurant table for the evening), think again. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Reviews Influence Purchasing and Investment Decisions

In a recent survey published by Local Visibility System, 50 percent of all survey respondents claim to be more likely to engage with a business or use a product or service after finding positive reviews online. This doesn’t mean these shoppers are turned away by a single bad review in a series of good or neutral ones; it simply means that when positive reviews exist and are made available, the odds of a purchase go up.

Bailing Out Isn’t an Option

85 percent of your potential clients place more trust in a business or service provider if they can find reviews online. This means that, positive or negative, the very fact that reviews exist can be reassuring. Knowing that others have chosen this service and that a local company has an established foothold in the marketplace can remove a degree of uncertainty. For managers, this means it’s a good idea to encourage reviews and avoid backing away from the custom altogether or shrugging off the reviews that are already out there. Monitor them, and pay attention to what your clients are saying about you. Then make an active effort to encourage positive feedback.

Drive your Online Reputation

Control your reputation; don’t let it control you. If you’ve received too many negative reviews, not enough positive feedback, or not enough online feedback in general, you don’t have to sit still and accept your fate. Attack the situation by reaching out directly to your current clients after any meeting or point of contact. Let them know that you care about the state of the partnership and you’re interested in how they would characterize their experience.

Avoid Negative Reviews

The best way to avoid negative online reviews to head off complaints before they make their way to the internet. Make complaining the easiest and most satisfying way to address a concern or resolve a problem. Make complaint forms available, and train your teams to respond immediately and decisively to client concerns of any kind. Don’t wait to take action on these concerns, and give your teams and account managers the freedom to exercise their judgement when they’re approached by unhappy customers.

For more on how to build and maintain a strong reputation for your firm, both online and off, contact the DC financial staffing experts at Cordia.